Bad News/Good News and a Big Welcome!

The whole process of pulling this quixotic adventure together has been a learning experience on my part. This is the first time I have really tried to organize anything as part of my travels, since I have been almost completely a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants traveler up to now.

But when I was talking to friends about doing a long train trip for adventure and challenge, I was quickly talked into expanding the concept out to include some great fellow travel bloggers. Having some of them do this with me is undoubtedly going to be one of the biggest highlights to the entire journey.

When I was exchanging emails with potential people about joining in, I knew it would be a challenge to be able to get people’s schedules to mesh together and also for everyone to be able to afford the time and money to engage in this bit of silliness. Luckily, I managed to assemble a group of six of my favorite people to tentatively agree to do it.

Unfortunately, the busy schedule of real life claimed one of my minions last week. (OK, joking on the minions part, but loved that Monty Python clip and needed a reason to post it up).

And alas, I am not joking about losing one of our participants. Pam Mandel of Nerd’s Eye View shot me a note last week saying that her real life duties were going to preclude her ability to cross half the world by train this September.

Pam has been an immensely valuable resource to me during my stumbling around during the planning stages. She’s always been quick to reply to my “how do I pitch this” or “how best to approach this” emails that I have inundated her with over the past few months and she’s promised to not forward my future pleas for help and advice into her spam folder.

I would be incredibly remiss if I didn’t give her a huge public “thank you” and shout-out of appreciation here. Plus, she’s informed me that she’s ordering bourbon for my “Beer Tab from Hell” night at TBEX and I’ve always had a soft spot for anyone that likes my winter alcohol choice.

While I am incredibly disappointed that Pam won’t be joining us (this year), this post does have a happy ending.

jeannie mack nomadic chick

my new minion, Nomadic Chick, gazing up greatness

I was chatting with Jeannie Mark of Nomadic Chick on Facebook a day or so after I got Pam’s email. She was harassing me about something or another (people tend to do that a lot with me) and then popped off in mock anger that I hadn’t invited her on the Ultimate Train Challenge back when I was forming it up. I told her that I didn’t think it would be her kind of gig and she indigently said she’d have been perfect for it.

I told her to put her backpack where here mouth was and join us, since there was a spot that just opened up. I sorta’ figured that she’d back up a little bit with some excuses about schedule or money or wanting to do something else that time of year.

Nope…. “I’m in” was her immediate reply.

So, she’s in. And I’m excited. She’s going to be a great addition to our cast of characters, even though I think half her posts may end up just taunting me in some fashion or another. She does have to back up some of her big words though — she has been kicking around India for months and somehow thinks that her experiences on Indian trains are going to give her a leg up on the rest of us for this challenge.

We’ll see about that.

So welcome aboard, Ms. Nomadic Chick. We look forward to your contributions to our little endeavor and are excited to have a new member of the team.

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About Michael Hodson

overland adventure traveler

21 Responses to Bad News/Good News and a Big Welcome!

  1. Daniel N. May 6, 2011 at 10:53 am #

    I would SO join you in this trip Michael, you definitely need a good photographer 😛

    My only problem is money… I have run out of that thing.. Can’t pay myself a ticket to cross half of Europe with it.. nope..
    Can’t we be sponsorized with all expenses paid? geez!
    Daniel N. recently posted..Arabic Calligraphy UAE

  2. Gray May 6, 2011 at 11:32 am #

    It is going to be so much fun to watch this adventure play out. I’m so glad Jeannie’s along for the ride!
    Gray recently posted..The Comfort of the Familiar

  3. Jeannie May 6, 2011 at 2:09 pm #

    Oh whatever. I’m probably gazing up at a 6’4″ German with SULA (sweaty upper lip action) inspired biceps. His name is Hans.

    I am stupidly excited to be part of this group and this adventure. :)

    You’d be right, I’ve already done the basic training and been to Nam’ and back.

    Plus with all the antibiotics in my belly, I’ll never get sick ever again.

    We’re gonna rock those trains.
    Jeannie recently posted..Serendipity in Sihanoukville

  4. pam May 6, 2011 at 2:17 pm #

    I’m sure I’m going to be kicking myself when the first person accounts of this mad adventure start appearing. Kicking myself.

    But it’s fun to help make it happen in this tiny, background sort of way.

  5. Christy @ Ordinary Traveler May 6, 2011 at 5:14 pm #

    Awesome! You have made a good choice, Michael. :) I love Jeannie’s blog and she seems like a great travel buddy.
    Christy @ Ordinary Traveler recently posted..Things To Do in San Francisco

  6. Sally May 7, 2011 at 1:29 am #

    Oh man, I so wish I was doing this! But it looks like I’ll still be in Asia in September so I’m expecting to greet you guys when you get here!

  7. Jennifer May 7, 2011 at 3:36 am #

    Even with the loss of Pam (a huge blow to be sure), you guys are going to have such a great adventure. I’m really looking forward to enjoying it, vicariously, and reading about it often. :)
    Jennifer recently posted..NYC Hotel Discount Packages for Affordable Travel

  8. Cailin May 7, 2011 at 3:43 am #

    Jeannie is ok for your Canadian quota….. but she isn’t the only unemployed wanting to travel constantly Canadain….. I hear there is one out there too with a fancy camera that makes movies for the internets.

    hahahaha You guys will have a blast :)

  9. Lindsay aka @_thetraveller_ May 9, 2011 at 1:57 pm #

    HAHA “I told her to put her backpack where her mouth was”
    Awesome. And it worked!
    You guys are gonna have such a great time! I wish I could come :(

  10. Federico May 10, 2011 at 6:46 pm #

    What an adventure! Wish I could join in too…
    Federico recently posted..Photo of the Week- Te Anau- New Zealand

  11. Erica May 10, 2011 at 6:55 pm #

    YAY Jeannie!

    Well, at least I know who to bother with questions since apparently you need to gain some karma back from bothering someone else. 😛

    I can’t wait to read about your adventures!
    Erica recently posted..A Post For My Father – Templo Mayor- Mexico City

  12. Roy | cruisesurfingz May 11, 2011 at 12:58 am #

    Michael, let me know if another space opens up! I’ve just finished my contract on cruise ships and am going to be bouncing around Europe until I get bored.

    Who else will be capable of doing MS Paint drawings of the challenge?? Oh wait, that’s probably anyone with a minimum of 3 fingers…
    Roy | cruisesurfingz recently posted..Leaving On A Jet Plane

  13. Abby May 11, 2011 at 12:58 am #

    Jeannie’s going to kick a**
    Abby recently posted..South Beach with the girls

  14. Seattle Dredge May 13, 2011 at 4:23 am #

    minion.. hehe great new addition/edition! You guys are going to have so much fun 😀
    Seattle Dredge recently posted..A Review of Online Mapping Systems

    • Michael Hodson May 22, 2011 at 4:35 am #

      She’s going to be a great one!

  15. Paige from DC May 22, 2011 at 12:06 am #

    I am really looking forward to reading all about this big adventure. Halfway thinking about packing up the kids and bringing them along for a leg.

    BTW – if Bourbon’s your winter drink, what’s your summer drink? I will need to drink a toast to you all at some point, naturally.

    • Michael Hodson May 22, 2011 at 4:35 am #

      Bourbon in the winter, gin in the summer, beer and wine year round!